Elk River has been known as "Energy City" since 1997 when the Minnesota Environmental Initiative chose it from over 30 other applying communities to act as a geographical focal point for the demonstration of efficient and renewable energy products, services, and technologies.
The eleven members of the Energy City Commission promotes the City of Elk River as a hub of energy technology, energy manufacturing, energy demonstrations, recycling, use of green products, and the adoption of sustainable living practices. Energy City works with entities interested in completing an energy efficient and economically feasible project in the Elk River area. Such entities may include builders, utility companies, government agencies, non-profits, homeowners, or businesses.
In order to provide a clear focus for Energy City, a 10-year Action Plan was developed in 2014, encompassing many city departments and city partners. The Action Plan will be reviewed annually and welcomes the input from city residents and area businesses.
In 2023, the City of Elk River became an official partner of Recharge America.
For more information, or if you have questions, please send an email.
City of Elk River Selected for a Hometown Solar Grant and Hometown Wind Power
Elk River City Hall is now home to a 5 kW solar installation and a 160 kW wind turbine! The Minnesota Municipal Power Agency (MMPA) has chosen chosen Elk River for these grant programs to bring renewable energy demonstration sites to our city. The purpose of the Hometown Solar Grant program is to provide our community with an educational asset to teach people how sunlight is converted into electricity and the unique characteristics of solar power. In the grant application, city and Elk River Municipal Utilities (ERMU) staff explained why city hall was a great location for a solar installation, aligning with this program’s goals, but also broadening the sustainability goals already in place here as Minnesota’s designated Energy City.
The next time you visit the Elk River Library be sure to stop by the educational kiosk located in the children’s section overlooking Orono Parkway and the city’s new solar installation. The kiosk is complete with interactive graphics highlighting how solar power generates electricity throughout the entire process. Additionally you can see it's production in real time online including overall production, CO2 emission saved and equivalent trees planted. Stop by City Hall to see it up close too.
The wind turbine is located at the Youth Athletic Complex (YAC), allowing athletes, families and residents to see the wind turbine up close while at the facility. The hub stands 80 feet of the ground with a maximum blade height of 215 feet. The turbine will produce energy to be used locally.
Electric Vehicles in Elk River
The City of Elk River with Elk River Municipal Utilities (ERMU) was one of the first cities in Minnesota to participate in the FleetCarma study which tracked the real time use of 20 vehicles over nine months. This information was used to determine vehicle replacement opportunities with hybrid or all-electric vehicles.
ERMU purchased a fully electric Chevy Bolt and the city leased a plug-in hybrid electric Mitsubishi Outlander. ERMU has also installed three public charging stations in Elk River. Be sure to look for our EVs around town in Elk River.
Residents and businesses in Elk River can enroll in the program as a low-cost way to support renewable energy and the environment. Customers can elect to have 50%, 75% or 100% of their electricity from renewable sources. Learn more about this great opportunity. The City of Elk River is enrolled in the program, 100% of the energy in our city-owned buildings comes from renewable sources.
Climate Smart Municipalities
Elk River is proud to be one of six Minnesota cities selected to participate in the Climate Smart Municipalities initiative through the University of Minnesota, which partners collaborations between Minnesota cities and their German counterparts to develop responses to climate change — from expanding solar energy to making buildings more energy efficient. Click here to learn more.